Friday, December 30, 2011

Winnie the Pooh Cake with Natural Colors

I recently went to my first sobriety-celebration party for a relative, a first for me, and it was so fabulous.  It was wonderful cheering someone on who was proudly saying they were alcohol-dependent-free.  Of course, I had to make a cake for my gang, as it was a full-on potluck with desserts.  I've been going through a craze lately (the last few years) of collecting various cake pans, so I thought this was as good a time as any to pull out one of my Winnie the Pooh pans and practice with my homemade colors.  I simply used my  White Cake with White Butter Cream Frosting  recipes for the cake and frosting.  I've been stowing away liquids in the freezer from colorful foods I've been cooking for this purpose, such as artichoke water, asparagus water, beet water, etc.  If it's got vibrant color, I freeze it.

So, this was my first attempt at making these colors, and I've already learned a few things.  In the future I'm going to reduce the liquids in a pot, before freezing, to concentrate and deepen the colors.  I noticed this time that if I added much more, the frosting would have been too thin.  Also, be careful of colorings that already have flavor, like turmeric.  It added a nice color, but too much more, and the flavor of the spice would have dominated the sweetness of the cake.  As it was, it tasted like a spice cake, which was just fine.  You'll also notice that poor Pooh's left eye, eyebrow and his nose are hard to distinguish from each other.  I had planned to outline his shirt, facial features, and his arms in a dark brown, but we were running late and the frosting hadn't dried, so Pooh had to come as he was.  Take this as a starter cake, and build on it.  As I improve my methods, I'll share them with you.

Winnie the Pooh Cake with Natural Colors


White cake batter- you can use my recipe White Cake   
1/2 cup soy milk
Non-stick spray
All-purpose flour

White butter cream frosting - you can use my recipe White Butter Cream Frosting
2 Tbs. leftover liquid from boiling red and orange beets, divided
1 tsp. chocolate pudding mix or cocoa
1 tsp. turmeric


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Make White Cake as usual, following my directions, but adding in the extra 1/2 cup of soy milk.  Spray your cake pan with non-stick spray and lightly flour, tapping out the extra.  Pour in cake batter, and bake for 40 minutes.  Cool in pan on cooling rack for fifteen minutes.  Invert onto cake platter, then invert back onto cooling rack to finish cooling.

When the cake is completely cool, make frosting according to my directions.  Place two dollops of frosting on cake platter to hold cake in place, and put cake on platter.  Pull out 1/2 cup of frosting and put in a small bowl.  Mix with 1 Tbs. of the beet liquid, until well incorporated.  Using a butter knife or a small paint brush, frost the area that is Pooh's shirt and tongue.  Pull out 1 Tbs. of frosting and put in an even smaller bowl.  Mix well with the pudding mix or cocoa, and paint on the facial features.  Use the rest of the frosting to make Pooh's fur.  Mix with the other half of the beet liquid, along with the turmeric, and frost Pooh's body.  This ends up having a hint of the turmeric flavor, which I thought was tasty.  Feeds five hungry vegans for a couple of days.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Savory Stuffed Peppers and Christmas, 2011

We had another great Christmas this year.  I have some pretty hysterical pictures of five-year-old JK completely ecstatic over the celebration.

As usual, I made a big breakfast buffet for my family and parents and then made some dishes to bring to the family potluck for dinner.  I decided to bring stuffed peppers for dinner, and they were super tasty.  I've got the recipe below, but first we have to cover some highlights.

You'll see in one of the pics below what my buffet looked like.  I made:
Scrambled Tofu with broccoli, mushrooms and spinach
Sausage and Cheese muffins (recipe on a future post)
My mom's fruit plate
Chocolate chip cookies
Oatmeal cookies
Lemon Sugar Loaf (recipe on a future post)
Coconut Caramel Happy Birthday, Jesus, Cake

For dinner:
Savory Stuffed Peppers
Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Glaze (recipe on a future post)

Just a note on the peppers:
I made enough for 22 people, so you can definitely halve the recipe or more for your needs.  Or, you can make the whole batch, and freeze what  you won't eat in the next few days.  I also cut my peppers in half, but you can use fewer peppers and keep them whole.  With all the food at the potluck, I thought having a whole pepper would be too much for some people.  I also used white rice to appeal to more people, but brown could be used, of course.

Savory Stuffed Peppers

Stockings hung with care, even for the dogs and cats

Breakfast Buffet (fruit plate hadn't yet arrived)

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Glaze (for potluck dessert)

R.I.P. - Here lies the blank spot where there was a great photo of the kids, but GR was embarrassed and pleaded with me to remove it.  The caption is below.
All the kids enjoying JK's new superhero masks.  They seem to have suddenly taken on the powers themselves!

GR and JK delivering our annual Christmas cookies to the firefighters.

Now, on to more of the recipe photos:

Here are the peppers, washed and waiting for the water to boil.

The stuffing being sauteed.

Blanching the peppers.

Completed peppers, ready to go!

Savory Stuffed Peppers


11 green bell peppers, tops trimmed, seeds and heavy pith removed, and halved lengthwise
1 cup white rice, uncooked, prepared according to package directions
2 Tbs. canola oil
1/3 cup chopped shallots
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 - 12oz. pkgs. Lightlife Smart Ground, original style
1 - 15oz. can of black beans, drained
1 Tbs. dried oregano
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 - 15oz. cans tomato sauce, divided
Non-stick spray


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Fill a very large pot about two-thirds full with water, and bring to a boil.  This will take some time, so you can prepare the rest of your dish while waiting.  Cook the rice and set aside.  In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the shallots and garlic and cook for two minutes.  Add the Smart Ground and mash with a fork or potato masher, so there are no big lumps.  Cook for two or three more minutes, stirring often, so it doesn't burn.  Add the beans and spices and cook until heated through, about three or more minutes.  Add the rice and stir well, so it's thoroughly mixed.  Add two cans of the tomato sauce and mix well.  Spray two baking dishes with the non-stick spray.  If the water is boiling now, carefully dump the peppers in it and boil for five minutes.  Drain in a colander in the sink.  Using tongs, place the pepper halves cut side up on the baking dishes.  Spoon the filling into the well of each pepper - use every last drop of it.  Spoon the last can of tomato sauce over each pepper.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.  So good.  Feeds five hungry vegans and seventeen close friends and family.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cheesy Saucy Bread

So sorry for the delay in putting out a post.  There's been a lot of personal stuff going on, so I really haven't been online at all except for financial necessities and homeschooling materials.  I'm hoping to get back to a regular schedule of posting about two times a week again.

Anyhow, on to the recipe: this is a completely indulgent bread, and I use that term loosely.  My family thinks it's simply cheese pizza, but no, I'm calling it Cheesy Saucy Bread, and that way it can be served alongside other dishes to make a complete meal.  It's super easy, too, so I hope you have fun making it!

Cheesy Saucy Bread right out of the oven

A slice of Cheesy Saucy Bread alongside a pasta dish and roasted veggies

Cheesy Saucy Bread


1 - 15oz. can tomato sauce
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1 pkg. Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet cheese, Monterey Jack style, finely shredded

2 lg. loaves of ciabatta bread, cut into quarters or halves, depending on size.

Heat top broiler in oven.  Put all the ingredients for the sauce (tomato sauce through pepper) into a medium pot.  Cook over medium low heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomato paste is well absorbed.  Place the sections of bread on large baking sheets.  Spread the sauce evenly over the bread.  Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce.  Place bread under broiler for four minutes, or until cheese melts.  Serve with pasta and roasted veggies for a complete meal.  Mm-mmm, good.  Feeds five hungry vegans.